In the wake of a Red River rivalry loss on the football field, Longhorns can celebrate a victory in a different arena: philanthropy.
Texas THON, a student-run philanthropic organization, competed against the University of Oklahoma’s Soonerthon last week in the second annual Red River Dance-Off registration competition.
Texas THON and Soonerthon are both part of the Miracle Network Dance Marathon movement, which benefits Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, a non-profit organization that raises funds and awareness for pediatric hospitals through dance.
Texas THON accepted Soonerthon’s challenge to register as many volunteers, who they call Miracle Makers, as possible between 8 a.m. on Oct. 5 and 11:59 p.m. on Oct. 6.
During the 40-hour competition, Texas THON advertised their cause through word of mouth, social media posts and by enlisting members to table on Gregory Plaza wearing a pancake costume.
Alexandra Robles, a chemistry junior and Texas THON officer, posted on the official UT class of 2018 Facebook page to recruit Miracle Makers. Robles said students should consider the privilege of attending the Oklahoma football game in Dallas to put the situation in perspective.
“This weekend, many of you will be leaving to Dallas to watch the game against OU,” Robles said in her post. “On Saturday you’ll be sitting in a stadium wearing a fancy new outfit, and a family will be sitting in the hospital watching the game on the TV above their kid’s hospital bed.”
At the end of the 40 hours, Texas THON won the registration contest with 127 new Miracle Makers, 15 more than Soonerthon.
Texas THON works to benefit Dell Children’s Medical Center with each Miracle Maker pledging to raise at least $100 for the hospital throughout the year.
These efforts culminate in a 12-hour dance marathon in March.
Both Texas THON President Natalie Weston and Soonerthon Chair Jordan Smicklas said their shared cause is more important than the outcome of the competition.
“In the end, even if it is a competition, it’s such a win-win situation for both of us,” Smicklas said. “It’s cool to utilize the [rivalry] to get our campuses behind both of our events that, in turn, benefit the same cause.”
Weston, a civil engineering senior, said the rivalry provides an opportunity to bring together both campuses for a worthy cause.
“Even though I’m mad that UT lost [the game], and last year they were pissed that [OU] lost the game … none of that matters,” said Weston. “We were able to use the spirit of what was going on on our campuses to help save kids’ lives, and that’s the most important thing.”